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5G use cases and


White paper - 5G Use Cases and Requirements



What 5G will be and why it will come


Use cases


Mobile broadband




Smart Society


Smart grids








Logistics / freight tracking



5G Design Principles














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1. What 5G will be and why it will come

The continuing growth in demand from subscribers for better mobile
broadband experiences is encouraging the industry to look ahead at
how networks can be readied to meet future extreme capacity and
performance demands. Although the path towards 2020 has already
been set out in our Technology Vision 2020, the growth in demand will
not stop there.
Nokia, along with other industry partners, believes that communications
and control beyond 2020 will involve a combination of existing and
evolving systems. This includes existing systems like LTE-Advanced
To change
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to meet new requirements, such as virtually zero latency to support
tactile Internet, machine control or augmented reality. 5G will be the
set of technical components and systems needed to handle these
requirements and overcome the limits of current systems.

Next generation Wide Area

Scalable service experience
anytime and everywhere

massive mobile data


voice, video and data


high quality voice and SMS


Wi-Fi best effort data


short range and low power

Ultra dense deployments

Zero latency and GB experience
when and where it matters

Integrated, harmonized and

complementing each other

Fig.1. 5G: symbiotic integration of existing and new technologies

Cellular networks were originally designed for voice only application,
using analogue transmission channels. When digital technology evolved
and more voice channels were required, digital 2G systems emerged
in the 1990s. Digital transmission enabled new services such as text
messaging and circuit switched data access.

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The low data rate services provided by 2G systems did not fulfill the
need for mobile Internet access. This lead to a demand for new 3G
standards, which evolved to provide fast data services and more
capacity for voice. The recent (4G) mobile communications system LTE
was developed to provide high capacity and highest rate data service
for mobile multimedia. Seen from a historical point of view, each of
the cellular standards has evolved around a set of key use cases:
1G Voice services
2G Improved voice and text messaging
3G Integrated voice and affordable mobile Internet
4G High capacity mobile multimedia


Real-time control



b it





Flexibility for
what is unknown









ro la

Monitoring &




i e n ce

NextGen Media


Push & pull

of technology

Fig.2. 5G Demands - Higher capacity, lowest latency and more

consistent experience
Figure 2 shows the evolution of the cellular standards driven by the
communication needs of both humans and objects. A Zero latency
gigabit experience is what we foresee users/objects will expect from
5G. Both parts an increase of data rates and a reduction of latency are equally important.

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Of course, the term Zero latency does not mean no delay at all
it simply represents the fact that 5G needs to deliver latencies
low enough that the radio interface will not be the bottleneck, even
for the most challenging use cases. The next generation mobile
communications system will not be used for human interaction alone.
Instead we will see a huge growth in machine type communications,
sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things. The devices will
also not only be remotely controlled and managed by people, but
will also communicate with one another. Therefore the Internet of
Things requires more reliable communication links but also lower
transmission delays (latencies) machines can simply process
information much faster than people.
Human interactions will also be more demanding in the future for
the 2G system, the main focus was voice, where latency requirements
were driven by the human audible delay constraint, in the order of
100 milliseconds. For multimedia applications, the human eye is more
sensitive and delays of less than 10 milliseconds are required. The
tactile interaction stands for the increasing use of touch interfaces,
where a delay requirement as low as one millisecond can sometimes
be observed.
Gigabit experience will mean data reception and transmission
speeds of Gigabits per second to users and machines. Again, this
does not mean providing high-capacity networks everywhere, but the
centers of big cities will be the first places where the demand for a
new system will be felt. The overall demand growth in both user data
rates and network capacity is still the main driver for technological
evolution higher capacities of networks will require better
performance, cell densification and access to new, broader carriers
in new spectrum. Part of the capacity growth can of course be met
with existing systems, but around 2020, limits will be reached and 5G
technologies will be needed.
Nokia has already published a white paper describing our general
views on what 5G will be and in this current white paper we will look
more closely at the use cases for the new system and the resulting
The next section describes a number of new use cases envisioned
for 5G. Flexibility for a wide range of these use cases and services will
be one of the key design principles for the next generation mobile
communications systems. The 5G requirements supporting these
demands will be summarized at the end of this paper.

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2. Use Cases
New services and use cases are envisioned for 5G and will likely be the
driver for the technology. Figure 3 shows the diversity of some of the
expected 5G services.




Gigabytes in a second
3D video 4K screens
Work and play in the cloud
Augmented reality

Smart city cameras

Industry & vehicular automation


Mission critical broadcast

Sensor NW

Self Driving Car

# of devices;
Cost; Power
A trillion of devices with different needs

GB transferred in an instant

Building a

Mission-critical wireless control and automation

Fig.3. Diversity of services, use cases and requirements

As shown in Figure 3, there are three main requirement dmensions:
Throughput/capacity, number of devices/low cost and latency/
reliability. Some use cases may require multiple dimensions for
optimization while others focus only on one key performance indicator
(KPI). One of the main challenges for 5G will be to support such
diverse use cases in a flexible and reliable way.

2.1 Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband is the key use case today and it is expected to
continue to be one of the key use cases driving the requirements for
5G. It goes far beyond basic mobile Internet access and covers rich
interactive work, media and entertainment applications in the cloud or
reality augmentations (both centralized and distributed).

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Data will be one of the key drivers for 5G and in new parts of this
system we may for the first time see no dedicated voice service - in
5G, voice is expected to be handled as an application, simply using
the data connectivity provided by the communication system. Data is
growing at a rate between 25% and 50% annually and is expected to
continue towards 2030. See Figure 4.
Traffic growth towards 2030

Relative growth



5G will see up to 10000x

traffic growth and require
disruptive technology




Up to 1000x traffic
growth may be met
through LTE-A evolution











Traffic volume per subscriber

Traffic subscriber base

Mobile broadband penetration

+50% per year

+25% per year

+10% per year

reaching 100% by 2020

Fig.4. Predicted traffic volume towards 2030

The main drivers for the increased traffic volume are the increase in
size of content and the number of applications requiring high data
rates. Factors include increases in camera resolution, the rise in screen
resolution with the recent introduction of 4K (8K is already expected
beyond 2020) and the developments in 3D video. Streaming services
(audio & video), interactive video and mobile Internet connectivity will
continue to be used more broadly as more devices connect to the
Internet. Many of these applications require always-on connectivity to
push real time information and notifications to the users.

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Cloud storage and applications are rapidly increasing for mobile

communication platforms. This is applicable for both work and
entertainment. Cloud storage is one particular use case driving
the growth of uplink data rates in the past, content was mostly
5G will also be used for remote work in the cloud which, when done
with tactile interfaces, requires much lower end-to-end latencies in
order to maintain a good user experience.
Entertainment, for example cloud gaming (including serious games)
and video streaming, is another key driver for the increasing need
for mobile broadband capacity. Entertainment will be very essential
on smart phones and tablets everywhere, including high mobility
environments such as trains, cars and airplanes.
Another very interesting but also very demanding use case is
augmented reality for entertainment and information retrieval, which
requires very low latencies and significant instant data volumes. In
current networks, the first such use cases are enabled with Nokias
Liquid Applications and in the future we will see a wide variety of
augmented reality usage, including scenarios where content caching in
the base station is difficult.

2.2 Automotive
The automotive sector is expected to be a very important new driver
for 5G, with many use cases for mobile communications for vehicles.
For example, entertainment for passengers requires simultaneous
high capacity and high mobility mobile broadband, because
future users will expect to continue their good quality connection
independent of their location and speed.
Other use cases for the automotive sector are augmented reality
dashboards. These display overlay information on top of what a driver
is seeing through the front window, identifying objects in the dark and
telling the driver about the distances and movements of the objects.
The previous two use cases are related to content provisioning for the
car users, but the cars themselves will also be connected. Many car
manufacturers are already adding driver assistance systems based
on 3D imaging and built-in sensors. In the future, wireless modules
will enable communication between vehicles themselves, information
exchange between vehicles and supporting infrastructure and
between vehicles and other connected devices, for example, those
carried by pedestrians. Additionally, use cases for traffic safety are
now widely discussed in the EU-funded project METIS. These include
cars detecting safety critical situations, such as black ice, accidents
within reach of the car and other hazardous road conditions. Safety
systems will also guide drivers on alternative courses of action to allow
them to drive more safely and lower the risks of accidents.

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The next phase will be remotely controlled or even self-driven vehicles,

which will require ultra reliable and very fast communication between
different self-driving cars and between cars and infrastructure. In a
plausible future, a self-driving car takes care of all driving activity,
allowing the driver to rest and concentrate only on traffic anomalies
that the car itself cannot identify. Ideally, reading the morning
newspaper while commuting will become possible. The technical
requirements for self-driving cars call for ultra-low latencies and
ultra-high reliability, increasing traffic safety to levels humans
cannot achieve.

2.3 Smart Society

Smart cities and smart homes, often referred to as smart society,
will be embedded with dense wireless sensor networks. Distributed
networks of intelligent sensors will identify conditions for cost -and
energy-efficient maintenance of the city or home. A similar setup
can be done for each home, where temperature sensors, window
and heating controllers, burglar alarms and home appliances are all
connected wirelessly. Many of these sensors are typically low data
rate, low power and low cost, but for example, real time HD video may
be required in some types of devices for surveillance. The task for 5G
will be to integrate the management of these very diverse connected

2.4 Smart grids

The consumption and distribution of energy, including heat or
gas, is becoming highly decentralized, creating the need for
automated control of a very distributed sensor network. A smart
grid interconnects such sensors, using digital information and
communications technology to gather and act on information. This
information can include the behaviors of suppliers and consumers,
allowing the smart grid to improve the efficiency, reliability, economics
and sustainability of the production and distribution of fuels such
as electricity in an automated fashion. A smart grid can be seen as
another sensor network with low delays.

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2.5 Health
The health sector has many applications that can benefit from mobile
communications. Communications systems enable telemedicine,
which provides clinical health care at a distance. It helps eliminate
distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that
would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities.
It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations.
Wireless sensor networks based on mobile communication can provide
remote monitoring & sensors for parameters such as heart rate and
blood pressure.

2.6 Industrial
Wireless and mobile communications are becoming increasingly
important for industrial application. Wires are expensive to install and
maintain and the possibility of replacing cables with reconfigurable
wireless links is a tempting opportunity for many industries.
However, achieving this requires that the wireless connection works
with a similar delay, reliability and capacity as cables and that its
management is simplified. Low delays and very low error probabilities
are new requirements that need to be addressed with 5G.

2.7 Logistics / freight tracking

Finally, logistics and freight tracking are important use cases for
mobile communications that enable the tracking of inventory and
packages wherever they are through using location based information
systems. The logistics and freight use cases typically require lower
data rates but need wide coverage and reliable location information.

3. 5G Design Principles
The new, 5th generation of mobile will be built around two key design
principles that guide all requirements and technical solutions.

3.1 Flexibility
The use cases for 5G will be more diverse than ever and will require
very diverse link characteristics. Some examples are:
 assive data transmissions require large packet sizes and a lot of
allocated resources
 on-stationary sensors may need only small packet sizes and rare
resource allocations but in turn require a battery efficient sleep

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Flexible adaptation to fast traffic variations in uplink and downlink

Cloud gaming or remote machine control require low end-to-end
Video streaming requires latency matching with the data rate
Communication systems beyond 2020 will need to be flexible enough
to accommodate all the diverse use cases without increasing the
complexity of management.
Another reason that flexibility is the first key design principle of 5G
is that any new technology or system we design for 5G needs to be
future proof and last at least until 2030. This means that it is unlikely
that we can currently foresee all future use cases. However, we will
need to design all new components of 5G in a way that makes it easy
to extend them to accommodate these unknowable scenarios.

3.2 Reliability
As a key design principle for 5G, reliability is related to flexibility with the flexible integration of different technology components,
we will see a step away from best effort mobile broadband towards
truly reliable communication. Reliability is not only about equipment
up-time, it also relates to the perception of infinite capacity and
coverage that future mobile networks need to deliver. This in principle
means that for all the use cases and the vast majority of the users,
the required data will be received in the required time and will not be
dependent on the technology used.
Furthermore, reliability is becoming more critical as we start to
relay on mobile communications for control and safety. A reliable
connection can be defined as the probability of a certain data package
being decoded correctly within a certain timeframe. This means
that retransmission may be needed to ensure reception of a correct
data package, a process which will inevitably delay the transmission.
Therefore, even to obtain LTE latency numbers with higher reliability, a
lower system delay will be required.
Putting reliability as a key design principle for 5G means that:
in all concepts of system design focus should be put on fairness

the requirement is expressed in % of the users and not the
locations/coverage, because even the reliable network needs to be
cost-effective for the service providers

the mechanisms for trade-off between link reliability (so low packet
error rate) and throughput and/or latency are introduced in a simple
and efficient way
 ultiple network layers and radio access technologies are used to
provide the most reliable link based on the users application needs,
location and mobility

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4. Requirements
The use cases, key design principles and vision of the 5G system lead
to requirements that the future mobile broadband system will need
to meet.
10,000 times more traffic will need to be carried through all mobile
broadband technologies at some point between 2020 and 2030.
We made our prediction in 2010 and since then have gathered
information from the market which shows that the growth we foresaw
is actually happening. The need for more capacity goes hand-in-hand
with access to more spectrum on higher carrier frequencies. The new
5G system needs to be designed in a way that enables deployment in
new frequency bands.
We will see growth between ten and a hundred devices for each mobile
communications user even now many people have a phone, tablet,
laptop and a few Bluetooth-enabled devices. This trend will continue
and 5G needs to be designed to accommodate such growth in device
Another factor is radio latency lower than one millisecond, which is
important for:
achieving high data rates while keeping equipment cost low

ensuring fast procedure response times in the system (e.g. fast
wake up and dormancy, fast scheduling, fast link reconfiguration)
 whole new range of use cases like remote control of machines and
objects in the cloud or tactile Internet
The requirement for low radio latency is followed by other
requirements - jitter (latency deviation) of 20s or end-to-end latency
targets that vary between different service types.

x more traffic
x more devices




years M2M
battery life


M2M ultra low cost

Flat energy

data rates

peak data rates
wherever needed



The exploration
phase for a
5G has started!

Fig.5. The summary of key requirements for 5G

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A battery life of 10 years needs to be achievable. Part of this lifetime

extension will come from the evolution of battery technology but
part will come from efficient handling of machine type traffic in the
5G system. Reduced power consumption and increased battery
life will also be very important for more complex devices, such as
smartphones, tablets or laptops, as the time that such devices run
on a fully charged battery is a very important factor for end users.
Furthermore, energy consumption for the operators needs to
The possibility to handle devices with very low cost has to be ensured.
This means for example, that using very high frequency bands may
only be an option for simple devices, as transceiver capabilities dont
need to be the same for all devices. Following this example, in some
frequency bands, smartphones will use a 100MHz carrier but it is
feasible that sensors will have only 10MHz capable hardware. These
sensors should also be able to access the system. 5G will need to be
flexible enough to handle efficiently very simple devices that only send
small, rare bursts of data, yet also handle advanced ones that send
large amounts of data quickly.
Peak data rates of a 5G system will be higher than 10 Gbit/s but more
importantly the cell-edge data rate (for 95% of users) should be
100 Mbit/s. This will allow the use of the mobile Internet as a reliable
replacement for cable wherever needed.
We will still see improvements and demanding requirements for
spectral efficiency in terms of average bit/s/Hz/cell for ultra-dense
deployments. However, this will probably not be as important as in
the past for the design and optimization of 3G and 4G radio access
technologies, which were mainly optimized for wide area deployments
Using higher frequency bands, large transmission bandwidth
combined with low transmit power automatically limits the coverage.
What matters more for the new radio access design is the total
deployment cost in terms of cost/area, taking into account a particular
traffic density and a typically experienced user data rate.

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Mobility should be ensured for velocities as of today or higher of

course, small cells will be optimized for nomadic mobility but higher
speeds will also be supported. Overall, the 5G ecosystem will ensure
possibilities to provide high (but not peak) data rates even to high
speed users.
Accurate positioning of the device shall also be possible with 5G,
indoors as well as outdoors. Location-based services are becoming
more important and will be followed by location-based reality
augmentations. Another use for locating devices more precisely than
currently may be radio resource allocation based on device positions.
Security will be a very important requirement for 5G and the trend
is already visible and addressed now. In the new system, not only
security of sensitive personal data, but also safety from inserting false
information to the system should be ensured, with procedures made
as simple as possible.
Many more requirements of the transport network and overall
architecture will also develop with the introduction of 5G:

smooth mobility between cells, layers and radio access technologies
needs to be assured
s upport for any-to-any communication (so not only uplink
or downlink but also device to device and node to node self
backhauling) needs to be assured

5G networks need high capacity and low latency backhaul without a
significant increase in cost compared to todays backhaul

5G networks will need to be programmable, software driven and
managed in an integrated way

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5. Summary
The number of use cases for a next generation mobile communications
system will grow rapidly and the scenarios will place much more diverse
requirements on the system. In this White Paper we have outlined the
use cases and requirements for 5G but also the key design principles
flexibility and reliability. The future may seem far ahead but the
phase for defining the requirements is now and whats more, any new
technology or system that we design for 5G needs to be future proof
and last at least until 2030.
5G will come and even though we are still in an exploratory phase, Nokia
is already setting out what 5G will deliver and how it will deliver it.

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Nokia Solutions and Networks 2014